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Tarzan Was an Eco-tourist: ...and Other Tales in the Anthropology of Adventure

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Tarzan Was an Eco-tourist

...and Other Tales in the Anthropology of Adventure

Edited by Luis A. Vivanco and Robert A. Gordon

25th Anniversary Sale, 25% off all books! Add coupon code BB25

340 pages, 16 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-110-3 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (August 2006)

ISBN  978-1-84545-111-0 25% OFF! $34.95/£24.00 $26.21/£18.00 Pb Published (August 2006)

eISBN 978-1-78238-195-2 eBook

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“The editors and the authors of the essays in this book have made a clear attempt to unravel the complexity of adventure, including a re-affirmation of the importance of Simmel’s seminal essays on adventure and the Alpine journey, and in doing so have offered the reader some fascinating analyses of adventure in contemporary society.”  ·  Environmental Sciences

“An important strength of this collection is the ethnographic grounding of the chapters, which directly engage rich ethnographic understandings with Simmel’s work. This book is a useful addition to the anthropological literature on travel and tourism, and it is a pleasurable adventure to read.”  ·  American Anthropologist


Adventure is currently enjoying enormous interest in public culture. The image of Tarzan provides a rewarding lens through which to explore this phenomenon. In their day, Edgar Rice Burrough’s novels enjoyed great popularity because Tarzan represented the consummate colonial-era adventurer: a white man whose noble civility enabled him to communicate with and control savage peoples and animals. The contemporary Tarzan of movies and cartoons is in many ways just as popular, but carries different connotations. Tarzan is now the consummate “eco-tourist:” a cosmopolitan striving to live in harmony with nature, using appropriate technology, and helpful to the natives who cannot seem to solve their own problems. Tarzan is still an icon of adventure, because like all adventurers, his actions have universal qualities: doing something previously untried, revealing the previously undiscovered, and experiencing the unadulterated. Prominent anthropologists have come together in this volume to reflect on various aspects of this phenomenon and to discuss contemporary forms of adventure.

Luis Vivanco is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Vermont. His research focuses on the cultural politics of environmentalism and ecotourism in Latin America. He is author of Green Encounters: Shaping and Contesting Environmentalism in Rural Costa Rica (Berghahn Books, 2006).

Robert Gordon is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Vermont. He is author of numerous books and articles, including The Bushman Myth: The Making of a Namibian Underclass and Picturing Bushmen: The Denver African Expedition of 1925.

Subject: Environmental Studies Travel & Tourism General Anthropology


List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Chapter 1. Introduction
Robert J. Gordon


Chapter 2. Simmel and Frazer: The Adventure and the Adventurer
Aram A. Yengoyan

Chapter 3. Adventure in the Zeitgeist, Adventures in Reality: Simmel, Tarzan, and Beyond
Daniel Bradburd

Chapter 4. Tarzan and the Lost Races: Anthropology and Early Science Fiction
Alan Barnard

Chapter 5. Avant-garde or Savant-garde: The Eco-Tourist as Tarzan
A. David Napier


Chapter 6. They Sold Adventure: Martin and Osa Johnson in the New Hebrides
Lamont Lindstrom

Chapter 7. Jacaré: Cold War Warrior from the Jungles of the Amazon
Neil L. Whitehead

Chapter 8. The Work of Environmentalism in an Age of Televisual Adventures
Luis A. Vivanco


Chapter 9. Five Miles Out: Communion and Commodification among the Mountaineers
David L.R. Houston

Chapter 10. Crampons and Cook Pots: The Democratization and Feminizations of Adventure on Aconcagua
Joy Logan

Chapter 11. The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love: The Peace Corps as Adventure
Michael J. Sheridan and Jason J. Price

Chapter 12. Doing Africa: Travelers, Adventurers, and American Conquest of Africa
Kathryn Mathers and Laura Hubbard


Chapter 13. “Oh Shucks, Here Comes UNTAG!”: Peacekeeping as Adventure in Namibia
Robert J. Gordon

Chapter 14. A Head for Adventure
Steven Rubenstein


Chapter 15. Riding Herd on the New World Order: Spectacular Adventuring and U.S. Imperialism
Keally McBride

Chapter 16. Adventure and Regulation in Contemporary Anthropological Fieldwork
David Stoll


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